"...I got Mad..!"
Artist: JOHN MEEKS
Original picture is oil on canvas measuring approx 30 x 20
Subject: USS Parche distinguishes herself in a night action against a Japanese convoy, 1944.
The story behind the painting...
 
The Artist Writes:


I don't normally paint "blood and thunder" scenes; I feel that they come very close to "glorifying war"; never my intent - but I thought that I just had to make an exception with this one. It's one of the very few examples of a submarine "making its mark" whilst surfaced - just too good to miss !

So...sorry folks ! Lottsa flares, rockets, shells etc. etc.

USS Parche, the SS384, achieved fame on July 31, 1944. Her skipper, Lawson P. ("Red") Ramage, had worked his way into the middle of a Japanese convoy in the pre-dawn hours of that morning, and soon had his hands full with a very busy day.

Firing two torpedoes at one of the ships, Ramage realised that its evasive manouevering had given him a chance at shots at two tankers and a Japanese Naval escort. Firing no less than eight torpedoes in quick succession, from both stern and bow tubes, he took care of both tankers. Mayhem ensued !

The convoy started to break up, escorts dashed in all directions, and firing at the rogue sub. came from every-which-where !

For a full forty-five minutes, on the surface, with only himself and his executive officer on the conning tower, Ramage used the big fleet submarine like a PT boat. One can only imagine what it was like to be working in the engine room or the torpedo rooms of Parche during the action ! At one point, she narrowly avoided being rammed, and passed a Japanese vessel going in the opposite direction a mere fifty feet away ! So close that Ramage and his exec. exchanged enraged insults and gestures with the equally enraged Japanese crew !


John Meek's "Pacific War" series

Eventually the unharmed submarine was able to disengage and slip away into the early morning darkness. Behind him, "Red" Ramage left two confirmed sinkings totalling 15000 tons, several more thousand tons of damaged merchant and naval shipping, a broken convoy that was in total disarray and still firing at itself and, in conjunction with USS Steelhead - which was also in the vicinity - assisted in the sinking of three more ships ! A remarkable performance - and a thundering good yarn !

Later, when interviewed about the exploit, Commander Ramage expressed his motivation at the time .... "...I got mad ... !" he said.

For getting mad, Ramage was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and Parche received a Presidential Citation.

For a more full acount of this action, and a complete history of this boat, you are well advised to go to the Parche website (at www.parche.org) or try to get hold of a copy of Theodore Roscoe's marvellous (but now long out of print) book "United States Submarine Operations in World War II", which, although a semi-official tome, is written with a most wonderful "gung-ho" panache!

But - let's not forget - there are real guys on that burning tanker in the background........my own father was on tankers throughout WWII.....not all wine and roses.
     
LIMITED EDITION PRINT out of 100
Size : 19" x 13" 


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